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The 40km Project – Part XIII – The Definition of Insanity

This entry is part 13 of 16 in the series The 40km Project

Sunday was attempt #9 at the sub-hour 40km TT in Calabogie. You may have noticed that I didn’t post anything about attempt #8 (which happened in June.) Why? Because it would say the same thing as this post, and the same thing as every other post before it: I went, I tried, I failed. Again.

As the saying goes,

The very definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again, expecting different results

(good luck properly attributing this one… I’ll just go with the prolific anonymous

This year, I’ve been further from the 1-hour mark than I was last year, where my 1:00:22 left me motivated to crush the hour in 2012. However, 2012 times have been: 1:02:45, 1:01:14 and yesterday’s 1:01:56. Seriously. Not even close. Now, yesterday was the windiest TT I’ve done, with wind from the South (headwind on the way out) at 20-30km/h with gusts to 45km/h. Yikes!

I felt good, and was motivated as this was my last chance in 2012 to tackle the course. Again, I just don’t have any excuses.

So, rather than bore you with details of the day (I’ll stick a graph at the bottom just to add some colour), I’m going to look ahead to 2013 TTs. Since The 40km Project started, I’ve been essentially doing the same thing as I always do. Ride my ‘normal’ schedule (which is to say, no schedule at all,) and then the week before the TT perhaps taper a bit and try to get more sleep, show up, do a piss-poor warmup, and race. I’ve repeated this time and time again (9 times now, in fact) and it clearly points to one thing: insanity! What I need for 2013 is a new strategy. A new mental game.

Some late-night research last night lead me to a couple of very interesting sites. The first points directly to weakness #1 in my ‘insane’ routine. I know I have a poor/non-existent warmup ‘routine’, and know I need to improve it. But I’ve never done anything about it. I just show up and hope to magically break the hour by doing the same warmup I have always done. Flamme Rouge and PezCycling both give a good rundown of warmup strategy and some of the benefits are discussed. I don’t think there’s any doubt in the scientific community that a good warmup is essential!

The second key area I will be focusing on is pacing. In general, I fall into the trap of going way too hard out of the gate and being fried early in the race.  Joe Friel’s excellent site is full of pages and pages (and pages and pages and pages) of useful information on pacing. (Other sites have information too, if you need a second opinion) Hmm.. if Joe Friel thinks it’s so important, perhaps I should at least think about it, eh? It looks like the key is to go easier than you would think for the first quarter of the race. I know I don’t do this. However, Joe also gives good research about going slightly harder on the uphills, and ‘resting’ on the downhills. I wonder how this applies to a TT where most of the uphill is in the first half, where his pacing strategy says to go easier. Hmm…

I’ve also found The Ultimate Guide to Time Trialing to be an interesting resource, as is A Guide to Time Trialing by Matti von Kessing.  I may do a couple of other TTs this year (just not on the Calabogie course,) and if I do I’ll keep you posted on how some of this new material works for me!

Elevation/HR/Speed Graph

Elevation/HR/Speed Graph – attentive readers may notice something different about the look of this graph – I’ll reveal that in a future post!

Series NavigationThe 40km Project – Part XIIThe 40km Project – Part XIV – Now With Power!

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